Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Comics Sept. 21, 2014

This week was a pretty massive one in terms of things I wish is could regularly follow... Multiversity one with Chris Sprouse, All New Xmen, Avengers (8 months later) to name just a few so I'll stick with just the two I got to pick up...

Thor God of Thunder 25

One of the two books I've read so far from this potentially very expensive week of comics. Thor 25 is the end of this volume with Odinson becoming again unworthy to wield mjolnir after what occured in Original Sin. There are two main stories in this issue framed as stories being read by the granddaughters of Thor ala Journey into Mystery. The opening tale is the origin of Maliketh which is suitably grim and dark and overall satisfying for someone who has long liked the dark elf and the second is a young Thor tale with art by Simon Bisley of Slaine and Lobo fame. That and the final couple pages that are a teaser for the new Thor series point to stories yet to come... It's been a good time to be a Thunder god fan and there seems to be no one better to write it the Aaron. Even at the five dollar price point this issue felt satisfying in art and story both. Looking forward to the mysterious woman who somehow gets the hammer from the moons surface....

 

 

The Wicked + The Divine 4

I will be honest here thought I liked the story up till this issue I was mainly getting the book for its truly georgeous artwork by McKelvie and Wilson. This issue is probably the best looking so far but this is where the slow build story wise from issue one really dug its claws into me and I know I'm hooked. So we get more of a look at some of the characters that we have been hearing about since issue one, I'm looking at you Woden and get a bit deeper into the set up for what I think will be the fireworks to come soon. Its more then just a pretty face and now I must go read deeper into issues one through three again.... Thank you Kieron and company of a very cool book....

 

 

 

 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Wanted Dispatch Sept 13 2014

 

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

I've been a fan since reading Zoo City and absolutely loved The Shining Girls so getting a chance to read an ARC of this was a pleasure. Like Shining Girls Broken Monsters is a serial killer crime novel that shows the story through many perspectives including the killer and shows how broken all the characters are in their very human ways. Lauren is one of the writers who goes outside the white western eurpean storytelling box and apparently spent a good deal of time researching Detroit, her setting, and the realities of being mixed race in a prejudiced society that thinks itself not racist anymore. Expect a full review to be coming soon. Here is a synopsis from Hachette books... It is out in the US on the 16th of September...

Detective Gabriella Versado has seen a lot of bodies. But this one is unique even by Detroit's standards: half boy, half deer, somehow fused together. As stranger and more disturbing bodies are discovered, how can the city hold on to a reality that is already tearing at its seams? If you're Detective Versado's geeky teenage daughter, Layla, you commence a dangerous flirtation with a potential predator online. If you're desperate freelance journalist Jonno, you do whatever it takes to get the exclusive on a horrific story. If you're Thomas Keen, known on the street as TK, you'll do what you can to keep your homeless family safe--and find the monster who is possessed by the dream of violently remaking the world. If Lauren Beukes's internationally bestselling The Shining Girls was a time-jumping thrill ride through the past, her Broken Monsters is a genre-redefining thriller about broken cities, broken dreams, and broken people trying to put themselves back together again.

They do the same things Different There by Robert Sherman

Of the three books I am posting about this week this is the first of the two from my favorite dark fiction publisher from Canada - ChiZine. I'm a sucker for short fiction collections and particularly for weird fiction collections so this is pretty much my kind of thing...

Here is the synopsis and a link to ChiZine.....

Robert Shearman visits worlds that are unsettling and strange. Sometimes they are just like ours—except landlocked countries may disappear overnight, marriages to camels are the norm, and the dead turn into musical instruments. Sometimes they are quite alien—where children carve their own tongues from trees, and magic shows are performed to amuse the troops in the war between demons and angels. There is horror, and dreams fulfilled and squandered, of true love. They do the same things different there.

Robert Shearman has written four previous collections of short stories, and they have collectively won the World Fantasy Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and three British Fantasy Awards. He is probably best known as a writer on the BBC TV series Doctor Who, and his work on the show gave him a Hugo Award nomination. His last book, Remember Why You Fear Me, is also published by ChiZine Publications.

 

Gifts for the one who come After by Helen Marshall

And so here is the other book coming this week from ChiZine and its another short fiction anthology of things dark and weird. And I'll leave you with the link and synopsis for this....

Helen Marshall’s debut collection Hair Side, Flesh Side earned her praise as "the new face of horror" (January Magazine). Her work has been nominated for the Aurora Award from the Canadian Society of Science Fiction and Fantasy, the Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association, and the Sydney J. Bounds Award from the British Fantasy Society, which she won in 2013.

Ghost thumbs. Microscopic dogs. One very sad can of tomato soup . . .Helen Marshall’s second collection offers a series of twisted surrealities that explore the legacies we pass on to our children. A son seeks to reconnect with his father through a telescope that sees into the past. A young girl discovers what lies on the other side of her mother’s bellybutton. Death’s wife prepares for a very special funeral. In Gifts for the One Who Comes After, Marshall delivers eighteen tales of love and loss that cement her as a powerful voice in dark fantasy and the New Weird. Dazzling, disturbing, and deeply moving.

 

 

 

Monday, September 8, 2014

To rate or not to rate ...

So that is my question.... With my reviews of fiction and comics does anyone have a wish that I would take up a rating scale like a five star or a one to ten scale.... I look at these if places have them but sometimes its all I look at rather then what the reviewer in question liked... So what you think...

 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Wanted Dispatch Sept 6 2014

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

In terms of modern supernatural horror Robert Jackson Bennett is most likely the name that fewer people know but hopefully this book may change that. Bennett has won and been nominated for the genre literary awards like the Shirley Jackson, the PK Dick and the Edgar. His work generally crosses genre borders and is hard to really categorize; City Of Stairs is a mix of second world fantasy, modernist suspense, urban fantasy with an odd gear and steamless atmosphere of steampunk. Though surrounded by an action oriented and very entertaining aid de camp its heroine Shara Thivani is a distinctly different kind of protagonist. I plan a full review for Monday to celebrate this book and hopefully create some sales for Robert...

Here is a link to an excerpt from tor.com and a synopsis

 

The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions—until its divine protectors were killed. Now Bulikov has become just another colonial outpost of the world’s new geopolitical power, but the surreal landscape of the city itself—first shaped, now shattered, by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it—stands as a constant, haunting reminder of its former supremacy.

Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov’s oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country’s most accomplished spies, dispatched to catch a murderer. But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not be as dead as they seem—and that Bulikov’s cruel reign may not yet be over.

An atmospheric and intrigue-filled novel of dead gods, buried histories, and a mysterious, protean city—Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Stairs is available September 9th in the US (Crown Publishing) and October 2nd in the UK (Jo Fletcher Books).

Monstrous Affections edited by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant

So here I am at it again but I have to point out great looking themed short fiction collections (there are a couple of great looking ones coming out this month). I'm familiar with Ms Link from her own great short fiction collections so I have hopes that this will be influenced by her flavor or darkly humorous storytelling. Tor.com posted up this great piece of cover artwork along with a description and table of contents which I'm copying below...

Predatory kraken that sing with—and for—their kin; band members and betrayed friends who happen to be demonic; harpies as likely to attract as repel. Welcome to a world where humans live side by side with monsters, from vampires both nostalgic and bumbling to an eight-legged alien who makes tea. Here you’ll find mercurial forms that burrow into warm fat, spectral boy toys, a Maori force of nature, a landform that claims lives, and an architect of hell on earth. Through these and a few monsters that defy categorization, some of today’s top young-adult authors explore ambition and sacrifice, loneliness and rage, love requited and avenged, and the boundless potential for connection, even across extreme borders.

Table of Contents:

Paolo Bacigalupi—Moriabe’s Children

Cassandra Clare—Old Souls

Holly Black—Ten Rules for Being an Intergalactic Smuggler (The Successful Kind)

M. T. Anderson—Quick Hill

Nathan Ballingrud—The Diabolist

Patrick Ness—This Whole Demoning Thing

Sarah Rees Brennan—Wings in the Morning

Nalo Hopkinson—Left Foot, Right

G. Carl Purcell—The Mercurials

Dylan Horrocks—Kitty Capulet and the Invention of Underwater Photography

Nik Houser—Son of Abyss

Kathleen Jennings—A Small Wild Magic

Kelly Link—The New Boyfriend

Joshua Lewis—The Woods Hide in Plain Sight

Alice Sola Kim—Mothers, Lock Up Your Daughters Because They Are Terrifying

Hieroglyph edited by Ed Finn and Kathryn Cramer...

This is an anthology inspired by some thoughts put forward by Neal Stephenson; I believe he had become disenchanted with the grim futures being written about by his fellow authors and posited writing more positive futures to dream bigger (higher faster better more to reference Captain Marvel.) This collection of stories taps some of the best writers in Science Fiction to imagine a better future....

Here is the solicitation from Harper..

Inspired by New York Times bestselling author Neal Stephenson, an anthology of stories, set in the near future, from some of today’s leading writers, thinkers, and visionaries that reignites the iconic and optimistic visions of the golden age of science fiction.

In his 2011 article “Innovation Starvation,” Neal Stephenson argued that we—the society whose earlier scientists and engineers witnessed the airplane, the automobile, nuclear energy, the computer, and space exploration—must reignite our ambitions to think boldly and do Big Stuff. He also advanced the Hieroglyph Theory which illuminates the power of science fiction to inspire the inventive imagination: “Good SF supplies a plausible, fully thought-out picture of an alternate reality in which some sort of compelling innovation has taken place.”

In 2012, Arizona State University established the Center for Science and the Imagination to bring together writers, artists, and creative thinkers with scientists, engineers, and technologists to cultivate and expand on “moon shot ideas” that inspire the imagination and catalyze real-world innovations.

Now comes this remarkable anthology uniting twenty of today’s leading thinkers, writers, and visionaries—among them Cory Doctorow, Gregory Benford, Elizabeth Bear, Bruce Sterling, and Neal Stephenson—to contribute works of “techno-optimism” that challenge us to dream and do Big Stuff. Engaging, mind-bending, provocative, and imaginative, Hieroglyph offers a forward-thinking approach to the intersection of art and technology that has the power to change our world.

 

 

 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday comics....

 

With issue six Filipe Smith shows how he is doing something different with the story of the All New Ghost Rider and its hero Robbie Reyes. Firstly I will miss the crazy kinetic art of Traad Moore on this title but I have to say that by the second read through I really warmed up to Damien Scott's graffiti influenced lines mixed with manga style and I can say now I dig it and I can look forward to Traad other places. I have my worries about the titles longevity and I think with how much I really loved the new issue I have to give it a bit of review age and signal boost.

From the first issue All new Ghost Rider read like a mix of east and west comic images tropes and sensibilities; since I've been a long time Japanese anime, superhero and manga fan it did touch that Devilman, Fist of the Northstar, Baribari Densetsu and Riding Bean fan in me as well as my enjoyment of the Spirit of Vengence. Looking into Filipe's background he's got a very interesting history in comics including the fact he's one of the few western creators who has written and drawn Japanese manga in Japan and been a success. He has also worked on several american comics and strangely this is the first project where he actually has to produce scripts for his stories. Coming from a manga background he is used to both writing and drawing his stories but I would not have guessed that from reading the series. I would love to interview him about his history in manga and his influences.

The All New Ghost Rider is set in a poorer neighborhood in Los Angeles about teenager Robby Reyes, high school student car mechanic and guardian for his differently abeled brother. The series wastes no time throwing us into his life and his extra curricular activities that include borrowing cars he's working on for the garage and using them to street race for more money to support him and his brother. He's not the obvious nerd in school, he's not the popular kid he is just one with more adult respincibilites then most. By the end of the first issue he finds himself on the wrong end of the henchmen of Hyde/Dr. Zabo's guns and in the gunsights of a local gang banger.... oh and also most probably dead in an alley. He soon becomes the racing suited cool helmeted skull visaged character with the flame effects and the flameing wheeled supernatural muscle car.

The series proceeds apace as you'd want with a muscle car centric theme. It has as much in common with my memories of Speed Racer ad it does with the Fast and Furious film franchise. The first story keeps it focus on the players in LA, there are no guest appearances; no ubiquitous Wolverine, Spider-Man or Avengers guest shot. Robbie has to deal with the violence invading his neighborhood and life in addition to the mysterious ghost that he's now bound to who has yet to reveal anything about itself. As the second act opens with new art that is more graffiti influenced that take some getting used to but Damien Scott the artist seems a good choice given the not totally super hero nature of the story.

I'm really writing this to hopefully creat interest in the story because I'm worried it is not hitting its possible audience. Robbie seems a great new addition to the diversity in the marvel universe given he is Hispanic and he's certainly a different sort of character then the usual and the story is going somewhere else then the usual coming of age teenager tale. He is someone saddled with much more responcibility then usual and I think it will be an interesting journey to see him grow into being a local hero. The opening of issue six points to the neighborhood thinking they have a hero of their own and one I'd love to see him get the chance to become. There is a collection of 1-5 coming out so its likely to be easy to check out soon and the current story promises an appearance by the second Ghost Rider Johnny Blaze....

So yeah a plea to keepa superhero horror comic out there for those of us who dig them.... The collection comes out Oct 14th.....

 

Here is the cover of issue ... 7

 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Wanted Dispatch August 30 2014

Looking at September in Speculative Fiction there is a lot good to look forward to no matter your tastes... I'll finish with the book that needs no signal boost so here are the ones that may not be on your list just yet.

 

Grudgebearer by J.F. Lewis

This is one that I know next to nothing about other then the fact that the great editors at PYR thought it worthy of print which is just about good enough endorsement for me based on how much I've loved the books chosen by Lou Anders and his staff over the years. Being a little image oriented the feeling of the cover reminds me of Stormlord by Tom Lloyd which I particularly loved; the description of this reminds me of it too to a small extent. So here is the synopsis for you and you can decide...

Kholster is the first born of the practically immortal Aern, a race created by the Eldrennai as warrior-slaves to defend them from the magic-resistant reptilian Zaur. Unable to break an oath without breaking their connection with each other, the Aern served the Eldrennai faithfully for thousands of years until the Sundering. Now, the Aern, Vael, and Eldrennai meet every hundred years for a Grand Conjunction to renew their tenuous peace.

While the tortures of slavery remain fresh in Kholster's mind, most of the rest of the world has moved on. Almost six hundred years after the Sundering, an Eldrennai prince carelessly breaks the truce by setting up a surprise museum exhibit containing sentient suits of Aernese armor left behind, never to be touched, lest Kholster kill every last Eldrennai. Through their still-existing connection with their ancient armor, the Aern know instantly, and Kholster must find a way to keep his oaths, even those made in haste and anger. While Kholster travels to the Grand Conjunction with his Freeborn daughter and chosen successor Rae'en, his troops travel by sea, heading for war.

 

Stories of the Raksura by Martha Wells

Martha Wells has apparently written many more stories set in the same world that began with the book The Cloud Roads and expands the world with several novellas and short tales set both before and during the series. I would hope that these tales stand well on their own and can bring more readers to what was a great second world fantasy that duly deserves more readers. Here is a link to Martha's website and the synopsis for a couple of the stories..

"The Falling World"

Jade, sister queen of the Indigo Cloud Court, has traveled with Chime and Balm to another Raksuran court. When she fails to return, her consort Moon, along with Stone and a party of warriors and hunters, must track them down. Finding them turns out to be the easy part; freeing them from an ancient trap hidden in the depths of the Reaches is much more difficult.

"The Tale of Indigo and Cloud"

This novella explores the history of the Indigo Cloud Court, long before Moon was born. In the distant past, Indigo stole Cloud from Emerald Twilight. But in doing so, the reigning Queen Cerise and Indigo are now poised for a conflict that could spark war throughout all the courts of the Reaches.

Also includes the short stories "The Forest Boy" and "Adaptation," both set before The Cloud Roads.

 

Acceptance by Jeff Vandermeer

I've been looking forward to this since closing the cover on my copy of Authority. I honestly don't know if Jeff has any intention of answering any of the questions I have about Area X or if the closing volume of this series will raise another series of thought provoking questions but I am fully on board for the rest of the journey. Jeff manages to writer weird fiction that hints at things wondrous chilling and sometimes hilarious but always worth the price of admission and the time invested in the trip. .... So here is the synopsis... I fully expect the owl on the cover to have something to do with the story like the rabbits on Authority...

It is winter in Area X. A new team embarks across the border on a mission to find a member of a previous expedition who may have been left behind. As they press deeper into the unknown—navigating new terrain and new challenges—the threat to the outside world becomes more daunting. In Acceptance, the last installment of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy, the mysteries of Area X may have been solved, but their consequences and implications are no less profound—or terrifying.

Maplecroft by Cherie Priest

Cherie Priest has been well known for the last several for her Steampunk series that began with Boneshaker but now she is returni to her southern gothic horror inspired roots with a story that grown out of the Lizzie Borden history. This may I fear go unnoticed because its not something with gears and guns on the cover..... Here is the synopsis ...

 

Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks; and when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one....

The people of Fall River, Massachusetts, fear me. Perhaps rightfully so. I remain a suspect in the brutal deaths of my father and his second wife despite the verdict of innocence at my trial. With our inheritance, my sister, Emma, and I have taken up residence in Maplecroft, a mansion near the sea and far from gossip and scrutiny.

But it is not far enough from the affliction that possessed my parents. Their characters, their very souls, were consumed from within by something that left malevolent entities in their place. It originates from the ocean’s depths, plaguing the populace with tides of nightmares and madness.

This evil cannot hide from me. No matter what guise it assumes, I will be waiting for it. With an axe.

 

Though Seanan Mcgiure probably needs little signal boost I have to add her newest Toby novel Winter Long to this week.... For all the urban fantasy fans out there who need a new series to love...

 

And lastly I don't think David Mitchell needs my help to sell books but his new novel The Bone Clocks comes out this week...

 

 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wanted Dispatch Aug 26th 2014

The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

Kameron is one of the authors that I discovered because of Night Shade Books a few years back, I managed to get a copy of her first novel Gods War signed by her through their blog and I've loved her work ever since. Her previous series had a marvelously strong and uncompromising female hero and equally unflinching writing. Personally I have high hopes for this series comming from Angry Robot Press. Tor.com was nice enough to post up an excerpt here and for your reading pleasure a bit of synopsis.....

Check out The Mirror Empire, the first installment in a new series from Kameron Hurley, available worldwide this September from Angry Robot!

On the eve of a recurring catastrophic event known to extinguish nations and reshape continents, a troubled orphan evades death and slavery to uncover her own bloody past… while a world goes to war with itself.

In the frozen kingdom of Saiduan, invaders from another realm are decimating whole cities, leaving behind nothing but ash and ruin. As the dark star of the cataclysm rises, an illegitimate ruler is tasked with holding together a country fractured by civil war, a precocious young fighter is asked to betray his family and a half-Dhai general must choose between the eradication of her father’s people or loyalty to her alien Empress.

 

Solaris Rising 3 edited by Ian Whates

Regular visitors here will know I'm a fool for anthologies and particularly ones that feature so many British authors that I seldom see here in the US. With so many avenues to get speculative fiction in the short form we are pretty much spoiled for choice so having good editors around like Ian at Solaris is a great thing. Here is the TOC for the collection...

  1. “A Smart-Mannered Uprising of the Dead” by Ian McDonald
  2. “The Incredible Exploding Man” by Dave Hutchinson
  3. “Sweet Spots” by Paul di Filippo
  4. “Best SF of the Year Three” by Ken MacLeod
  5. “The One that Got Away” by Tricia Sullivan
  6. “Rock Day” by Stephen Baxter
  7. “Eluna” by Stephen Palmer
  8. “Shall I Tell You the Problem with Time Travel?” by Adam Roberts
  9. “The Lives and Deaths of Che Guevara” by Lavie Tidhar
  10. “Steel Lake” by Jack Skillingstead
  11. “Mooncakes” by Mike Resnick and Laurie Tom
  12. “At Play in The Fields” by Steve Rasnic Tem
  13. “How We Came Back From Mars” by Ian Watson
  14. “You Never Know” by Pat Cadigan
  15. “Yestermorrow” by Richard Salter
  16. “Dreaming Towers, Silent Mansions” by Jaine Fenn
  17. “Eternity’s Children” by Eric Brown and Keith Brooke
  18. “For the Ages” by Alastair Reynolds
  19. “Return of the Mutant Worms” by Peter F. Hamilton

 

The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks

So for some people Brent Weeks will not be an unfamiliar name in the epic fantasy field but I think he may be one of the lesser known of the newish group of exiting fantasy authors. This is the third in his second fantasy series, both of which have their one distinct atmosphere and a grittier realistic storyline that will appeal to new fans to the genre who love the work of George RR Martin and Patrick Rothfuss. Jumping on in this volume is possibly not the best idea but seeing as I've done so a few times to find great stand alone books by accident possibly could happen here. Here is a link to Brent's web presence and a synopsis from his page....

 

The Broken Eye continues the spectacular Lightbringer series from the New York Times bestselling author of The Black Prism and The Blinding Knife.

As the old gods awaken and satrapies splinter, the Chromeria races to find the only man who can still end a civil war before it engulfs the known world. But Gavin Guile has been captured by an old enemy and enslaved on a pirate galley. Worse still, Gavin has lost more than his powers as Prism–he can’t use magic at all.

Without the protection of his father, Kip Guile will face a master of shadows as his grandfather moves to choose a new Prism and put himself in power. With Teia and Karris, Kip will have to use all his wits to survive a secret war between noble houses, religious factions, rebels, and an ascendant order of hidden assassins called The Broken Eye.